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Riverhounds Roster Nears Completion With Addition of Pair from Columbus Crew

Hollingsworth 2

Marshall Hollingsworth is one of the additions to the Riverhounds roster from their affiliation with Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew.

In December, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and the Columbus Crew announced that they would have an affiliation partnership for the 2016 season.
On Sunday, in their third preseason scrimmage, and even though there was no formal announcement from either team, we finally saw two players from the Crew  Ben Swanson and Marshall Hollingsworth, on the field with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
The 18-year old Swanson is a highly touted player in the U.S. system, and was signed in 2014 as a homegrown player for the Crew.   Swanson represented United States’ youth teams on several occasions, including wearing the captain’s armband for the U-18 team in a friendly against Canada in April.
Hollingsworth, 22-year old who played collegiately at Wheaton College in Illinois, was the Crew’s second round draft pick in January.
On Sunday, Swanson played in central midfield for the Hounds, while Hollingsworth, listed as a midfielder, played left back.
Individually, each showed why they are MLS quality players.
Swanson may have played a bit more deliberate and cautious — but was solid on the ball and accurate in distribution from a defensive center midfield role.
Hollingsworth seemed to really want to assert himself when he played in the 2nd half.  The 40th overall pick in MLS SuperDraft showed an ability to play physical, winning a handful of 50/50 balls and wasn’t afraid to take a few extra touches to move the ball forward.
It appears that Riverhounds Head Coach Mark Steffens and his staff will have a lot of options and healthy competition for playing time from a roster that now features a total of 25 players.
When speaking with Steffens last Sunday, he said the Crew players would have to earn their spots in the lineup like everyone else.
Barring a slew of injuries or other changes including additional Crew players coming on loan, it appears this is the roster that we’ll be expecting to see from the Hounds.
Sunday’s 2-1 loss certainly provided a lot of players with opportunities to get more valuable playing time.   Still, overall the team didn’t look to play in-sync or able to develop any kind of rhythm in passing and possession.   Now that all the players are in training, Steffens has made it clear that this is where the Riverhounds will have to start taking stride to improve prior to opening night on April 2 vs the defending league champs.
The team’s roster breakdown by position is as follows:
GOALKEEPERS               2015 Club           Nationality/Hometown              Age   
Hunter Gilstrap       Carolina Railhawks (NASL)    USA (Ashville, NC)    32
Mauricio Vargas       Wichita FC – NPSL                   Costa Rica                      22
Brenden Alfrey          Robert Morris Univ                 USA * (HG)                    21
*Homegrown player (Pittsburgh, PA – Central Catholic HS)
DEFENDERS                   2015 Club                Nationality/Hometown             Age         
Willie Hunt                         Riverhounds     USA (Greenville, SC)                        28
Drew Russell                      Riverhounds       USA (Bedford, TX)                            25
Karsten Smith         Ft. Lauderdale (NASL)    USA ( Huntington Station, NY)   27
Isaiah Schafer                    VPS – Finland    USA (Lakewood, CO)                          25
Ryan Dodson                     IFK Stockaryd/Rörviks IF USA (Aurora, Ill)                 23
Caleb Postlewait               Butler University      USA (Grand Rapids, MI)            23
** Sergio Campbell                Columbus Crew / Univ of Conn.    Jamaica            24
^ Marshall Hollingsworth   Columbus Crew / Wheaton College  USA (Libertyville, IL)  22
MIDFIELDERS                   2015 Club                Nationality/Hometown             Age      
Lebo Moloto                     Riverhounds          South Africa                                    23
Kevin Kerr                           Riverhounds        Scotland                                           27
Mike Green                        Riverhounds          USA   (Seattle, WA)                       26
Stephen Okai                     Riverhounds          Ghana                                               26
Nick Kolarac                      Riverhounds            USA  (*HG)                                      23
    *Homegrown Player (Pittsburgh, PA – W. Allegheny HS)
Alex Harlley                        Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL)        Togo                               23
James Bissue                     Montreal Impact (MLS/USL)          Ghana                       24
Romeo Parkes                   Isidro Metapán – El Salvador          Jamaica                    25
** Conor Branson            University of Charleston (WV)       England              24
^ Ben Swanson                  Columbus Crew                    USA (Grove City, OH)     18
FORWARDS                   2015 Club                Nationality/Hometown             Age      
Corey Hertzog               Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL)   USA (Reading, PA)   25
** Duwayne Ewart             Vancouver Whitecaps Acad   Canada                          17
Zak Boggs                     Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL)          USA (Marietta, OH)  29
** Not officially signed
^ On Loan from Columbus Crew (MLS)

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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